Martín Darré

Real name: Darré, Martín Vicente
Nicknames: Vic Martin / Martinho
Bandoneonist, arranger and composer
(26 May 1916 - 12 November 1991)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
José Gobello
| León Benarós

e was born in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Belgrano. He was a man respected by his fellow musicians, a tango worker with inspiration to add beauty to what others had composed, either tangos or other popular rhythms.

In that creative space he found his place. He had no need of the public applause, the recognition of his peers was enough for him. For that reason the obituaries were two or three, a few lines with poor contents, hidden as a padding in the show business section of the newspapers. Nothing more.

«Darré has explored almost all the expressions of urban popular music. Starting with tango he worked in different orchestral renderings of pieces composed by Mariano Mores, Sebastián Piana and especially charts for the Symphony Band of the City of Buenos Aires. For the latter, among many arrangements, he delved into songs composed by Chabuca Granda, several tunes of the Frank Sinatra’s songbook and classic American melodies written by Gershwin, Glenn Miller, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others. In 1985 he was member of the board awarding the Fundación Konex prizes».

Since 1982 he has been on the Celedonio Flores seat at the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo. Soon after his death, less than a month later, José Gobello paid homage to him before his peers: «Piana was who brought him near us. And he was who then reminded us that he was among the first musicians that modernized the tango charts in the early thirties. He was only sixteen when he joined the bandoneon section in the Francisco Lomuto’s orchestra. In a year’s time he became the lead bandoneon —occupying the position left by Daniel Álvarez— and the outfit’s arranger. Those were the times of Julio Perceval, Julio Rosenberg and Sebastián Lombardo, prior to the times of the brilliant Argentino Galván or Héctor Artola.

«Darré was self-taught, he had no teachers. He worked for a conductor of European light music named Dajos Bela and at the same time he wrote the charts that another Lomuto chose for his band known as «Héctor y su jazz». Thereafter he had a long tenure along with Mariano Mores.

«For a short time he was artistic director of a recording company. Then he summoned Elvino Vardaro to put together a group and start recording for the company. Then the first and last 78 rpm disc with the name of the great violinist on the record label was released. The numbers were: “El cuatrero” and “Pico de oro”. When they were about to release a second disc the company thought that Vardaro’s style was not commercial then his contract was cancelled and Darré resigned».

León Benarós, among other concepts, said about him: «Before knowing him in person I was drawn to some articles he published in the Continente magazine, a periodical in which I also wrote. Later we were in touch for a long time for artistic matters in SADAIC».

«He was a tidy man, impeccable, profound in his opinions. I visited him several times in his apartment on 443 Montevideo Street, fourth floor B. His case was amazing for me. How had a man like him mastered sight reading, harmony, counterpoint, orchestral conducting and even been qualified to enter the difficult, intricate Wagner’s forest in which he wandered so comfortably without formal music training in a conservatory, only by his own effort?»

«He was the one who instilled character and style to the Mariano Mores Orchestra and was arranger and advisor of the Navy Symphony Band, Municipal Symphony Band and Federal Police Symphony Band. He was a highly qualified professional.»

«He was an honest man, who also at times used to be ironic about his colleagues. On an occasion we recalled that Roberto Firpo, talking about the arrangement he wrote for “La cumparsita” at the time before its premiere in Montevideo, had said he had included bars of his tango “La gaucha Manuela”, of 1907, and also part of the Verdi’s Miserere in the third section. «How modest! —he commented— there are only two notes from the Miserere in “La cumparsita”».

«He composed a large number of pieces that include tangos, waltzes and songs with different beats according to the record file in SADAIC. We shall only mention “Un solo adiós” that he recorded conducting an orchestra to backup the female singer Susy Leiva and “La calle maldita”, recorded in 1950 by Osvaldo Fresedo with Armando Garrido on vocals. But he penned a famous tune which was sung or hummed by a great number of Argentines without knowing who the author was. He wrote the music and the lyrics of the march for the World Soccer Cup of 1978 held in our country. But someone was not satisfied with the lyrics. We don’t know who he was but his comment was that the author exaggerated with that of «25 million of Argentines will play the World Cup».